Helicopter pilot and flying instructor Dennis Kenyon has owned personal number plates for many years. Dennis has had several excellent registrations bearing his initials.
He previously owned 28 DRK and 700 DRK, and now owns 7 DRK and the ultimate mark for his initials – 1 DRK.
“I acquired 1 DRK through a private advert in the Sunday Telegraph in 1972,” says Dennis. “I bought it from a lovely blonde lady in Ilfracombe for £250. I always have a little smile when I think back on that special occasion!”
Dennis claims that he could tell a hundred stories about 1 DRK, and there is certainly no question that Number One plates do turn heads.
“Once, a Rolls-Royce Corniche owner indicated for me to pull my E-Type over on the Brighton sea front. I did so, and he asked me if I would sell 1 DRK. I noticed that he had 4 DRK on his car. I declined and added, jokingly, that he couldn’t afford it.
“About a year later the same man stopped me again. He said, ‘I will buy it … just name a figure.’ I was doing OK in those days, so once again I refused.”
The striking combination of great registration and E-Type Jaguar has even caught the eye of the boys in blue.
“One Sunday afternoon, I was driving past Kenley Airfield in Surrey, when a police car coming the other way stopped me. I wondered what on earth I’d done. The police driver wound down his window and called out, ‘Excuse me Sir, I just wanted to have a drool!’
“I purchased the car new in 1970 as an ex-demonstrator. It is a 1969 ‘One and a Half’ convertible model, serial E2054. It is still virtually as new and absolutely original. Many are the times I’ve been told ‘I bet you’ve pulled some girls in that car’. My standard reply was .. ‘They’re not rust patches down the side of the bonnet: they’re conquest notches!’.”
Dennis is a former Royal Air Force fast jet and bomber command pilot who served with 44 & 61 squadrons. Since leaving the service, he has become a helicopter flying instructor. In 1992, Dennis won the World Helicopter Aerobatic (Freestyle) Championship event and he plans to enter the 2012 WHC event in Russia.
“I have taught quite a few motoring racers,” he recalls. “The late Barry Sheene, God bless him; the 1986 F1 world champion Alan Jones, who I was with when he won the USA Formula One Grand Prix in the car park of Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas! Also Jonathan Palmer and the rally man, Tony Pond. Even Mark Thatcher, who bought his Bell Jetranger from my company.”
Another ex-demonstrator vehicle Dennis purchased was his XKR convertible, which he had from a Hertford Jaguar dealer.
“I’d have to say it is the best car I have ever owned,” he says. “But then I’ve never owned a Ferrari!”
In addition to the flying instruction, Dennis now does ‘freestyle’ helicopter display flying in his little Sikorsky 300 and in an elegant Enstrom Shark. For instructing flying students he often uses an MD 530 Notar helicopter.
“For relaxation I restore grandfather clocks,” Dennis says. “That and the flying… A nice combination of fast and slow, I suppose.”
Dennis, who is pictured above with Georgie Dixon, 2009 winner of his scholarship, trains clients privately for the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s Private Pilot’s Licence. The 45-hour course costs between £15,000 and £16,000. For details, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
He also writes for several aviation magazines and his first novel, a helicopter-related thriller called Appointment on Lake Michigan, was published in 2005. ISBN-10: 0973225386 • ISBN-13: 978-0973225389
Dennis’s 7 DRK registration is currently for sale. Enquiries may be made through Regtransfers.co.uk.